This large Madagascan carnelian spere features dramatic, deep blood red colour throughout with dark vein patterns and semi-translucent areas filled with unique and intricate strand detailing. All of our carnelian is high quality, authentic, natural, non-dyed material from Madagascar.
Carnelian (also spelt 'cornelian') is a member of the chalcedony group of gems, which in turn belong to the cryptocrystalline variety of quartz. It varies in colour from deep red to vibrant orange to pale brown - colours that are caused by the presence of iron oxides - and often features cloudy patches and 'veins' running throughout.
Carnelian in History
The name 'carnelian' derives from the Latin word meaning 'fleshy' due to it's characteristic reddish-orange colour. A gem shrouded in myth and legend, it was believed by the Egyptians to have strong powers in the afterlife, carrying souls safely to the next world, and would help calm ones fears about death. A robe encrusted with carnelian gems was found in the tomb of a Sumerian queen from 3000BC, believed to be for this reason. The Romans believed that the different colours of the stone represented the sexes; darker stones representing men and lighter ones women.
A note on Fakes, Treatments & Misrepresentations
Most of the 'carnelian' in the gem trade today is in fact dyed agate, and unfortunately, since both true carnelian and dyed agate are from the quartz family, many sellers do not consider it necessary to make a distinction between the two. Natural carnelian is becoming increasingly scarce so it is safe to assume most of the pieces for sale today are dyed. Thankfully, it is fairly easy to tell which pieces are dyed and which are natural; dyed carnelian usually shows consistent colour with light colour banding or stripes, whereas the real gem has a few imperfections and a more cloudy appearance.